So. Mother's Day.
It's been a year since I spoke to my own mother. I still don't know how I feel about it - not really. It's a pretty mixed bag, emotion-wise. I am happier - that much is indisputably the case. I don't spend my time dreading the next phone call, the next visit, the next endless, poor-me monologue. I don't miss the pretence of it all being alright, when all I ever really wanted to do was ask her why? Why did she do that to us? Not just me, all of us. Her own three children, and my stepsister.
I don't know if it's the meds, or the growing-up, or the poisoned gift of last year's breakdown (a gift because it's allowed me to really think about myself for the first time in my life - who I really am, not who I tell the world this person is), but I'm starting to get a bit of a handle on the mother thing.
Having spent my entire life being the counsellor/barmaid/emotional punchbag for my mother's fractured idea of parenting, all I ever dreamed of was being free of her. When I was younger, I found this extremely hard to reconcile with the absolute longing I felt - longing to be normal, to be loved, to be a child
- able to depend on her rather than her depending on me. I've struggled with that for a very long time. Having taken the decision to rid myself of her once and for all, things took a little while to settle down on Planet Surly. For years, I'd been self-destructing. I hid my distress and my pain and my worries from everybody because I've never been able to accept that I might have a voice worth hearing. I had all sorts of unsuitable outlets for how I was feeling. Nothing we need to talk about here though. Not yet, maybe not ever.
Since last August's meltdown, some clarity is beginning to creep in. I had only seen as far ahead as cutting my mother off. I hadn't considered at all the possiblity that I would need to mourn her. I carried on regardless, brave-facing for all I was worth. Everything was fine. Really. Until it wasn't.
I'm beginning to realise that I have every right to feel like this. I didn't ask for any of the shit I've had in my life. I didn't ask to be born to a woman who is so devoid of empathy that I'm pretty sure there's a diagnosable disorder in there somewhere. I have every right to sit here, on Mother's Day, and weep for the life I should have had.
I wonder if she had any cards today? Somehow, I think not. I don't think that makes me pleased, exactly. But as I look at my own daughter, I can see that it's no more than she deserved.
I don't miss my
mother. I just miss having a